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Advice for Leaders: How to Future-Proof Your Charity

What’s the difference between a for-profit company, and a charity organisation? Beyond the fact that a charity builds money for a cause, and a business creates profit for shareholders, there isn’t much separating the two entities. At the end of the day, both charities and companies need to present an idea or set of values to a customer base, in the hope that their audience will respond with financial support and loyalty.

Future-proofing a charity means finding an idea that continues to generate support for years to come. Just like trying to build a sustainable business, you’ll need to have a strong strategy in place if you want to convince your target audience that your non-profit is worth not only their money, but their advocacy too.

Understanding Why Your Organisation Exists

For any group to be sustainable, it must have a purpose. The purpose of a hospitality company, for instance might be to provide people with delicious food in an inspiring restaurant setting. On the other hand, the purpose of your charity might be to ensure that people in troubled countries have access to clean food and drinking water.

One of the biggest mistakes that charity leaders make, is that they fail to establish a distinct purpose for their organization from the very beginning. While it’s tempting to build a community that strives to help everyone, the truth is that you need a clear vision if you want to speak to people in a way that inspires sustainable loyalty.

Ask yourself, what does your group do, why do they do it, and why should people care?

Testing New Ideas

A company doesn’t become successful by lingering in the shadows and hoping for the best. If you want to connect with your audience on an emotional level, then you need to measure your impact and test new ideas to figure out what steps you should be taking to interact with the right people at the right time. If you’re currently using a combination of PR and social media to reach out to your audience, then make sure that you have metrics in place to test how effective your campaigns are.

Remember, while testing your current activities is important, you also need to try out new ideas too. Inaction can take hold too easily when charities start to see a little bit of support for their campaigns. Just because your non-profit is successful now, doesn’t mean that it’s as profitable as it could be. A culture of constant evolution is critical to a future-proofed charity.

Collaborate

Charities are about helping others – but do you ever consider how others might be able to help you? When funding for your organisation is scarce, it makes sense to reach out and collaborate with other teams who might be relevant to your organisation. Look into your local community for businesses and people that you might be able to connect with to improve brand reach, you might be surprised at how far a little extra help can take you.

Many non-profit organisations have astronomical goals, and this means that they can rarely achieve their ambitions alone. If you really want to future-proof your charity, then you need to be willing to ask for help from more than just donators and regular contributors.

How have you made sure that your nonprofit is ready for the future?

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations and the founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation.

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